Do you wonder why debate on bills seem to occur in inverse proportion to their cost? At least with defense bills, we can thank John Murtha. In the late 1980s, he created a new process for defense spending. Instead of having the bill go through weeks of debate, Murtha and the ranking Republican would simply lard the bill with so much pork spending that neither side could resist voting for the bill. No one wanted to debate the bill, because no one wanted to reveal the pork spending within it. The Republicans have continued this tradition, which is why the defense appropriation last week for $437 billion only endured 20 minutes of debate.Earmarks are also threatening to become an issue in our upcoming Senate election. This exchange from the primary debate (courtesey of Porkbusters.org) highlights the contrast between Lieberman and Lamont:
This issue has even gotten national attention. Conservative blogger Instapundit says:
PORK BECOMES A CAMPAIGN ISSUE, as Ned Lamont attacks earmarks:We need to bring spending under control. Members of congress are so used to patting eachother on the back, inserting earmarks to help their special interests groups and to win re-election year after year. Despite what Sen. Lieberman would have you believe, these earmarks are not good for Connecticut or the country.Lamont also said Congress should end the practice of anonymously inserting appropriations known as "earmarks" into the budget, saying it invites mischief - such as favors for contributors. He pledged he would use earmarks for legitimate projects in Connecticut until the rules are changed and the practice is banned.
Isn't it time for a change?